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Wilderness Survival Tools

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Should you find yourself unexpectedly lost, stranded, or facing a potentially life-threatening situation, it’s important to have the right survival tools on hand. Here are some wilderness survival tools that no emergency kit should be without.

Survival Tools: Compass and Map

In this day and age, the old-fashioned compass has taken a backseat to GPS and other high-tech navigation systems. However, should you find yourself stranded in the wilderness without access to a charged battery or other electrical power source, a map and compass will allow you to get your bearings and plot a course back to safety.

Survival Tools: Fire Starting Kit

In a survival scenario, a campfire can be the key to your survival. It provides warmth in cold weather, and heat to cook your food and purify your water. It can also act as a potential rescue signal.

You can put together your own fire starting kit by packing a couple of lighters, some waterproof matches, a flint, and a small magnifying glass in a small, waterproof container. The flint can be struck against a stone to generate a spark, or the magnifying glass can be used to concentrate the sun’s rays into a beam of light and heat. Sparklers (with the stems cut off) also make good emergency fire starters, especially when dealing with moist kindling and leaves.

Survival Tools: First Aid Kit

A well-stocked first aid kit will allow you to treat any minor injuries or mishaps, from cuts and gashes to sprained ankles. Your first aid kit should include the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Peroxide
  • Antibacterial ointments
  • Aspirin
  • Pain reliever
  • Antacid
  • Antihistamine
  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Eyewash
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Burn ointment

If you’re diabetic or allergic to insect stings, make sure you include emergency supplies of the appropriate remedies. It’s also a good idea to include a travel-size first aid manual in your kit.

Survival Tools: Signal Mirror

Any small mirror can be used for signaling, but you should probably invest in a proper signal mirror for your survival kit. Signal mirrors are typically made of something more sturdy than breakable glass, and will float if accidentally dropped in water. The flash from a small signal mirror can be seen from as far as 100 miles away. Signal mirrors work best with direct sunlight on clear days, but you can also use them to reflect headlights, flashlight beams, and even bright moonlight if necessary.

Survival Tools: Survival Knife

Most survival knives have long blades with serrated edges along one side. They also have hollow handles that can be used to store a compass, matches, or fishhooks and a line. You get what you pay for with survival knives, so make sure you don’t skimp on the quality. You’ll find it much easier to navigate the wilderness if you don’t have to contend with a dull and breakable blade.

Survival Tools: Multi-Tool

A standard multi-tool consists of two halves, joined by a pair of pliers in the center. Within the two halves are stored a variety of useful tools—screwdrivers, saw blades, bottle openers, can openers, scissors, serrated knives, metal files, and even Allen wrenches.

Survival Tools: Snakebite Kit

Avoid snakebite kits that include scalpels or constrictors, as these may actually prove more dangerous than the snakebite itself. Instead, look for a kit that includes suction extractors. Be sure to add some anti-inflammatory pills, pain killers, and an emergency whistle. Snakebites can leave you weak and immobilized, and the whistle may be your only way of calling for help.

Survival Tools: Water Treatment

If you’re lost or stranded in the wilderness, your number one priority should be drinkable water. That’s why any decent survival kit will contain one or more methods for purifying water.

Water filters are the best option, and they come in a number of shapes and sizes (and prices). Some are simply drinking straws designed to filter water. Others are pumps that can be attached to your water bottle. Just to keep your bases covered, you should probably include some water filter tablets in your kit as well. These tablets are typically iodine or chlorine pills that you can dissolve in water to make it drinkable. It may not taste great, but it’ll keep you alive.

Survival Tools: Machete

Most survival experts agree that the machete is the most useful tool that you can have in the wilderness. The area of the machete blade closest to the handle can be used for whittling and carving, while the broad section is designed for cutting and hacking. The front tip is designed for stabbing or boring a hole.

You can use it to carve a trail through the vegetation, or to hack down bamboo, palm fronds, and vines to build a makeshift shelter. The machete can also be used to chop down firewood, or to sharpen a spear for hunting or fishing. You can even use the machete itself as a weapon against dangerous predators. This versatility makes the machete indispensable when it comes to wilderness survival tools.

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